It's been a little over a month since we last checked in with Huntington Beach-based X Factor contestants Emblem3. That's a long time when you're in a primetime pop bubble. Heading into their second audition in front of judge/mentor Simon Cowell and celebrity guest Marc Anthony, it appeared that the trio of Wes Stromberg, his brother Keaton and Drew Chadwick were a sun-tanned force to be reckoned with in the competition which continues tonight at on Fox11.
Of course the big shocker in their last audition was Chadwick missing his cue on one of the verses, though the group did a nice job of bouncing back and staying in the game. But in edition to the craziness of auditioning for superstars in the middle of a backyard patio, they've also encountered other obstacles and randomness on their route to fame that we got to hear about when we caught Wes and Keaton on the phone again to check in. One thing worth mentioning is the fact that the show is now going to effect your Emblem3 YouTube trolling. Judging by our conversation with them, it appears image control by the X-Factor camp is already starting.
OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): So for starters, how awkward was it performing in front of Simon Cowell and Marc Anthony next to a backyard pool?
Wes Stromberg: [Laughs.] We vibe off the crowd, so having two guys that are sitting there critically judging with straight face they're trying to make it hard on you and especially not having instruments. When there's no instruments, no crowd it's definitely difficult.
At one point, Drew missed his cue on the rap verse in your rendition of the Police track, "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." What was going through your mind when you heard that? Did it shake you a little?
Wes: Drew came in late on this bar, he was looking out into the sun or something and just forget where he was in the song. And then having to do choreography which we're not used to at all probably contributed to that. I think the fact we were able to pull it off it showed professionalism and Simon respected that and afterwards Drew was like 'I know I messed up and you guys could punch me 1000 times in the face.'
So why did you pick that song in the first place for the audition?
Wes: We knew we wanted to pick a classic song that would being wide audience but still hopefully stay true to what we do as a group.
Keaton Stromberg: At first I didn't really know that song but it ended up being a really good choice, even with the slip up, I think it showed our professionalism on our part to be able to finish it out. Wes: For our next few performances we don't wanna be the exact same routine, but still keep that reggae, beachy.
How have your lives changed now that you're on the show and have made it this far?
Keaton: Our lives are pretty much the same, we get recognized like 4-5 times a day, I know a lot of people let it go to their heads but we're trying to not let that happen.
Wes: We get people asking us to take our shirts off in public. It's almost like a Taylor Lautner type of thing. I guess because we have our shirts off a certain points during the show, random people who see us on the street people are like "why do you guys have your shirts on?" At least we work out so we don't look terrible [Laughs].
What's it been like getting to know some of the other artists in the competition?
Wes: We're all like totally family now, seeing anybody go home is heart wrenching. Lilas are such cute personalities, Willie Jones is an awesome guy, Sister C, we're all family now.
Keaton: I didn't expect to be as tight as we are, it's pushed us father as a group for sure. Wes: It's helped us step up our game and become a professional group whether than winging it Keaton singing lead, drew singing and harmonizing. We're capable of so much more that we've shown so far in the competition.
At this point, are you allowed to perform at all outside of X-Factor?
Wes: In our free time we still wanna go out and play but we're not allowed to while we're on the show. We also were asked to pull all of our live footage You Tube videos offline. We actually just finished doing that, which was really hard.
Keaton: Those videos definitely show more of us and who we actually are and without being produced. It's pretty sad honestly, but you gotta get over it. They want us to look like stars and having vids not produced by X-Factor would mess with that somehow I guess.
Nate Jackson is the gatekeeper to your dreams of local dive bar stardom. If he writes about you, expect your band to be offered at least one more drink ticket than the rest of the bands on the bill. Get his attention with some groovy tunes and he might just do it. Then, boy will you feel special.